German shepherds reach a maximum height of 65 cm, and weigh up to approximately 41 kg.
It is a well-proportioned dog. The head is wide and narrows gracefully in a sharp muzzle. The ears are quite long and stand upright. The back is level and muscular ending in a downward curving hip and a fairly full tail. The hair is thick, hard and rough and generally of medium length, but long haired dogs are often born. The colour of the hair may be black, brown, black and brown or grey.
The breed lives approximately 10 to 12 years.
German Shepherds get along well with children and other pets if they grow up together, but they tend to doubt strangers because of their guardian instincts. Some German Shepherds who have not been properly raised can be very excitable and nervous. Poor socialization and inadequate training can trigger overprotective or aggressive behavior.
It is important to acquire German shepherds from recognized breeders because as good shepherds they are big, powerful and have strong guardian instincts. Dogs bred with bad practices are more likely to be nervous.
To avoid aggressive and overprotective behaviour, German Shepherds need to be carefully socialised from a very young age and trained in obedience. They should be with family and exposed to other people and pets in the neighbourhood under supervision; they should not be confined to a kennel or yard either alone or with other dogs.
German Shepherds are active and enjoy having something to do. They need a lot of exercise every day; otherwise, they become nervous or very excitable.
Their moulting is very intense and occurs about twice a year, and the rest of the time they moult a smaller amount continuously. To control the shedding and maintain a beautiful coat, brush it at least a couple of times a week.
German shepherds are, as their name suggests, a breed that originated in Germany. They developed at the end of the 19th century by crossing different breeds of herding dogs. This breed was subject to rigorous selection and was evolving rapidly. In the United Kingdom, these dogs are known as Alsatian because local sheepdog enthusiasts wanted to protect the dog from anti-German feelings after the Second World War.
German shepherds were introduced to the United States by soldiers returning home after World War I. The breed was brought to the attention of the public by movie stars such as Strongheart and, later, Rin Tin Tin. After the Second World War, German Shepherds were the preferred military breed and the first guide dogs. Today, they are one of the most successful dogs in the United States. In 1999, German Shepherds were ranked third on the American Kennel Club’s list of fifty best breeds.
It is also a herding breed famous for its courage, loyalty and guardianship instincts. He is an excellent guard dog, police dog, military dog, guide dog and search and rescue dog. For many families, due to his character, he is a valuable member of the family.